Viticulturist, Damien Sheehan, has been named the new Chair of Wine Victoria (WV) at the industry association's 2013 Annual General Meeting.
Damien is currently the General Manager at Mount Langi Ghiran, a winery located in the Grampians region. He is also the current Chair of the Victorian Viticulture Biosecurity Committee.
Damien takes over the WV Chairman role at a time when the industry is being battered by a perfect storm of a high Australian dollar that is impacting export demand and growing retailer power limiting domestic market growth.
These issues were highlighted in recent WV survey where almost 45 per cent of respondents indicated that they did not make a profit in the 2011-12 financial year.
"These issues are real and are hitting the Victorian wine industry hard, this is particularly concerning when you consider that our industry employs almost 12,000 people, all of these in regional Victoria," he said
"In conjunction with the WV Board, we plan to work with our industry to build partnerships that can start to turn the tide on our current profitability issues, particularly in fundamental policy areas such as international trade and regional Victorian tourism, while also ensuring biosecurity issues that protect quality produce remain high on the agenda," he said
Damien confirmed 2014 will be an important and busy year for WV, particularly with a State Election looming.
Damien succeeds Stephen Strachan who has led WV from its formation in 2012.
"On behalf of the WV Board and Regional Council, and all WV members we thank Stephen for his leadership and guidance in the Association's formative years," said Damien
"Stephen has revived the state advocacy association ensuring our membership have an active voice to champion areas of concern or opportunity," he said.
Damien and the work of WV will continue to be supported by a strong Board and a diverse and engaged council of Victorian wine regions.
Wine Victoria Chair, Mr Damien Sheehan
Rachael Sweeney Executive Officer
Mob: 0422 067 858